I’m typing this 5 hours into a 15 hour flight. I have travel on the brain, so let’s review some of the more (and less) awesome aspects of today’s travel experience so far:
AWESOME: I drove myself to the airport. First time I’ve driven in over 6 months. I even managed to stay on the proper side of the road. That big grassy median on I-95 certainly helped.
LESS AWESOME: I was driving away from a place/situation where I really should be staying, at least for a little while longer. But simultaneously, I was driving toward the new life I’m building with KMN in Singapore. I felt very, very conflicted.
AWESOME: Checking my bags (including a heavy one with lots of goodies from the US) to my final destination. This trip requires 3 plane changes, so the less stuff I have to lug, the better. I am carrying on just a single backpack. Score!
LESS AWESOME: Exchanging final text messages with my family.
AWESOME: Espresso-based Cuban coffee drink acquired from Zazzo. The drip coffee that has been around the house for the last 2 weeks just doesn’t cut it for me. I’m a coffee snob.
LESS AWESOME: The complete absence of tasty bagels in Orlando Airport, Terminal B. I overpaid for a terribly disappointing bagel.
AWESOME: Complimentary upgrade on the first leg of my trip!!
LESS AWESOME: The warm cookie served in First Class was cranberry white chocolate, not chocolate chip. [I know, I know – How DARE they, right?]
AWESOME: Timely arrival in Newark and a hit of New Jersey nostalgia.
LESS AWESOME: Two hour delay leaving Newark. Plane change, fueling trouble, etc. Hopefully we make up some time en route, so I can make my connection in Hong Kong. I will cry if I get stuck there overnight. Nothing personal against Hong Kong, I’m just ready to be back in Singapore.
AWESOME: United is finally making an effort to really, truly board passengers by zone. For the bigger flights, they even have signs and numbers and different boarding queues and everything.
LESS AWESOME: The reality of going back to Asia hit me during the boarding process: Everyone in line velllllly kiasu. [Joke for my Singaporean readers, and maybe Jules. 😉 Basically, it was very crowded and everyone was pushy and wanted to be first and lossofpersonalspaceAGGGHHHH!]
AWESOME: Remembering to purchase some sour gummy worms at the airport.
LESS AWESOME: The dinner offering. The salad was pathetic, and the meat tasted…well, like a salt lick. I’m not super picky about my airline food, but this offering was particularly poor. The flight crew isn’t especially warm and fuzzy, either. In fact, my dinner option was “Chicken or beef?” Usually, there’s at least a basic description of the preparation provided, as well.
AWESOME: Wayne’s World is in the movie offerings. I have no desire to watch it, but it’s a movie I associate very strongly with a particular period in my life. Like, a long-ago period in my life!
LESS AWESOME: TV and movie selection is the same as on my Hong Kong-to-US flight. And there are only 2 episodes of NCIS! And Covert Affairs! However will I catch up on the TV shows I don’t watch?
AWESOME: I remembered to fill my 32 oz Nalgene at the airport in Newark.
LESS AWESOME: I already drank the whole thing (good thing I have an aisle seat), and there just isn’t enough fluid offered on this flight for my liking. Admittedly, though, I do drink an awfully lot.
AWESOME: I’m on an aisle end in the middle section of seats (three across), and the very MIDDLE seat is empty. Priceless!
LESS AWESOME: I really thought these planes had power outlets at the seats. Alas, not the case. My laptop battery lasts <<<<< this flight lasts. Good thing the Kindle is queued up!
AWESOME: The guy sitting behind me is super nice (in a grandfatherly kind of way).
LESS AWESOME: He’s really tall, and I always feel guilty reclining my seat into the lap of someone, especially someone really tall, who also happens to be really nice.
Picked up again, about halfway through my last flight (Hong Kong to Singapore):
AWESOME: Some airline decision-maker somewhere decided that the Newark to Hong Kong flight needed to have a simulated overnight, perhaps to help us remember that we were changing days. The lights were dimmed from hours 3-12 of the flight, at which point they turned on all the lights and served us breakfast. We landed at 8 PM local time. If I weren’t on top of things, I’d be really confused.
LESS AWESOME: I skipped airline breakfast, instead opting to eat a few gummy worms and drink 2 cups of water.
AWESOME: Despite the two hour delay in Newark, we were scheduled to land at 7:30 PM, which should have been juuuust enough time for me to go through security again and get to my 8:15 connecting flight.
LESS AWESOME: We actually landed at 7:45, taxied until 7:55, waited for our gate to be clear until 8:05, and waited for a jet bridge driver until 8:15.
AWESOME: I walked up the jet bridge to the terminal, resigned to spending the night in Hong Kong, when I heard a cheerful airline staffer summoning “All passengers on the flight to Singapore!” I joined a group of 5 others and literally – literally – did a happy dance. They were holding the flight for us!
LESS AWESOME: I continue to have ZERO love for security in Hong Kong. I’m a seasoned traveler. I know what does/doesn’t usually need to be removed from my bag at the x-ray station. I pulled out my laptop and iPad. My bag came through and I was called aside. “Any electronics?” Pulled out my Kindle (??). Again. “Any OTHER electronics?” Pulled out a router I was carrying, which was buried at the bottom of my backpack (???). Again. “Ma’am, do you have tweezers in that bag?” Why yes, yes I do. They’re 3 inches long and haven’t ever – EVER – caused a problem at security before. Finally, I assuaged security, hastily stuffed whatever I could into my backpack, scooped the rest up, and went jogging off to the departure gate with the rest of my worldly possessions in my arms. In Hong Kong, there is a second security check at the bottom of the jet bridge, juuust before you board the plane. The staff raised their eyebrows at everything I had in my arms. I didn’t care, because I was getting on that plane!!!!!
AWESOME: They even held the plane long enough to transfer our luggage. Just a bonus, for me, since I’m heading home anyway – but really awesome for those who are coming to visit Singapore (and don’t have clean undies waiting for them on the ground here).
Between the flight time and the time zone jumps, I’m in the process of fast-forwarding ahead one whole day: I left Newark at 5 PM on Wednesday, and will be landing in Singapore at 1 AM on Friday. I’m not usually too concerned with trying to “sync my body to my destination time zone” – for me, that’s more stressful than just sleeping when I can during travel, and adjusting once I arrive. Usually, if I’m sufficiently sleep-deprived in life in general (check mark), then once I arrive, I can sleep when night arrives, and (with the help of coffee) power through the daytime drowsiness. This may not be what the experts suggest, but it seems to work reasonably well for me.
And with that…I do believe it’s time for a nap. I’ve already watched/snoozed during The First Wives Club, Hope Springs, and Crazy Stupid Love. Catching up on movies from the ’90s is clearly the best use of my in-flight move time. I honestly don’t know what got into me – I’m usually an Action/Adventure girl myself. But for now – I’m resting to prepare for Immigration, Baggage Collection, and the cab ride home. 😉
What’s your favorite airplane activity?
Have you ever had a fellow traveler do something super nice/generous for you while flying?
Do you have an Awesome/Less Awesome for today?